Funeral of Irish Poet – would YOU send a text from your deathbed, only a few minutes before your Judgment?

Nobel laureate and poet Seamus Heaney’s last words to his wife were “do not be afraid”, one of his sons has revealed at his funeral. Michael Heaney told hundreds of mourners at the church in Dublin …

When I think of meeting my Maker at the moment of my death, I tremble. Granted the grace of even a few moments notice of that meeting, the last thing I’d be thinking about would be phoning or texting anyone. I’d be fully concentrated, I imagine, on how to express my deep sorrow for my many sins, begging God’s mercy while I still had breath to do so.

What about death then – does that moment hold any fears for you, or are you filled with the kind of confidence that would allow you to unselfishly concentrate on texting your nearest and dearest?

Let’s hear your thoughts on death, judgement, heaven and hell – not to mention funeral rites and eulogies.

44 responses

  1. At least one Irish bishop has tried to stop the liturgical abuses at funerals, but seeing the funeral of the Irish poet on today’s BBC news, several of his rules have been broken at the funeral of Seamus Heaney:

    The following regulations are to be followed at all funerals:

    Appreciations or eulogies by family members or friends of the deceased should not take place in the Church but may take place after the Rite of Committal in the cemetery or when the family and friends gather.

    The ambo is for the proclamation of the Word of God.

    Readings at the Funeral Liturgy should be taken from the Lectionary.

    Secular songs, poems and texts devoid of a Christian content are out of place in the Funeral Liturgy.

    A post-Communion reflection of a prayerful nature can be given after Communion but this should be agreed beforehand with the Celebrant and should not be used as a cloak for a eulogy.

    As is clear from the directives on the Funeral Rite, the deceased should not be canonized in the homily.

    If a visiting priest is officiating at the Funeral Mass he should be informed of these regulations and asked to abide by them.

    It is important that undertakers in your area are aware of these regulations. It is also important that clear arrangements are in place on the signing of books of condolence. Some priests expressed the view that they should not be allowed in the Church.

    Clear arrangements, allowing people the opportunity to offer sympathy to the family of the deceased, should be put in place in each parish.

    In some places it seems that the ‘funeral planner’ has made an appearance. Priests should only engage with the family in relation to the Funeral Rite.

    • The news reports described the Requiem Mass as a “celebration of the life” of Seamus Heaney so right away we see that this is not to be a traditional Catholic funeral, in any sense of the word. So much for the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom.

    • “As is clear from the directives on the Funeral Rite, the deceased should not be canonized in the homily”.

      Unfortunately, this continues to happen. The deceased are routinely canonized in the homily. This mentality more than anything else going on right now in the Church, in my opinion, shows the loss of Catholic belief. The idea that anyone could die and go anywhere except heaven, is the furthest thought from anyone’s mind these days. Even Purgatory isn’t rated.

  2. “Appreciations or eulogies by family members or friends of the deceased should not take place in the Church”

    That is the very first regulation on the list from the Diocese of Meath which was broken at the funeral of Seamus Heaney and the Cardinal was present, unless my eyes were deceiving me, so what chance do the ordinary priests have who wish to enforce rules if the Cardinal ignores them?

  3. Apologies, I meant to say that to the best of my knowledge, the rules from Meath are general rules in the Church anyway – eulogies have always been forbidden, as far as I am aware.

  4. You lot come up with some (crudity removed by editor) at times, You would all be better off by carrying out the SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY in praying for the deceased and his family and showing some humility and charity and therefore promoting the TRUE CATHOLIC FAITH, instead of your incessant whinging and whining

    • Chardom,

      I see what you mean. Pity the Bishop of Meath didn’t take the same view. Now he’s got us all noticing what happens at funeral Masses. Terribly uncharitable.

      Odd, isn’t it, that when heretics “whinge and whine” about Catholic teaching they’re given columns in the Catholic press and described as being “faithful dissenters”. When we comment on departures from Canon Law and revealed truth, we’re “whinging and whining”.

      Yip, there’s a lack of charity in there somewhere, Chardom.

  5. I found this link where the priest was to offer the Traditional Latin Requiem Mass, in effect he says that eulogies have no place during Mass, more or less saying that people are there to pray for the soul of that particular individual who has died. Death makes us equal, but, it is what we do in this life determines our judgement and whether we will be in heaven or hell.

    • Theresa Rose,

      I’ve checked the Catechism of the Catholic Church and it says clearly that there have to be no eulogies:

      1688 The liturgy of the Word during funerals demands very careful preparation because the assembly present for the funeral may include some faithful who rarely attend the liturgy, and friends of the deceased who are not Christians. The homily in particular must “avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy”189 and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.

      • It seems that bishops and priests just do their own thing and pay no attention to the Catechism, Canon Law, or any other instruction on the liturgy. It really is disgraceful.

  6. I should have added that in charity we should and do pray for those who have died. I am sure many who come onto this blog would agree with that.

    • Theresa Rose,

      Of course we pray for the souls of the departed. It’s those who eulogise about them at funerals who don’t think they need prayers. I’ve yet to hear a “charitable” eulogy. And I’ve yet to hear an intelligent, let alone a charitable, criticism of our blog. If Chardom thinks we’re “whinging and whining” what on earth must he think when he reads the writings of great saints like St Francis de Sales and Catherine of Siena who were NOT saints when they wrote their hard-hitting defences of the Faith against the new Protestants and weak popes respectively.

      But every criticism of Catholic Truth reveals something of the critic and it’s usually this: that they are OK with the dissent and heresy. They just don’t like our defence of the truth – in whatever form it takes, newsletter, website or blog. We are subject to attacks on all fronts – but do we care? Sob, sob – no!

  7. The phrase Celebrate the life of is a form of heresy – Jeanie McGlumpher didnt die on the cross!! Firstly its Humanist language but we celebrate the suffering death and Resurrection of Christ not of Jeannie McGlumpher or Seamus Heaney This pandering to secular music is forbidden in the NO as well – the guidelines from the Church are clear – we do not do Eulogies at Mass. Whoever this clown that arranged the Mass for him should be reprimanded severely I am sick of trying to do the right thing only to be undermined by father I’m yer pal with my pink wink and anything goes attitude.. spare us OH Lord!

    The Mass is not a meeting place it’s not a platform to wax eloquent about what kind of person Jeannie was its a participation “in fear and trembling” of the once for many sacrifice on the Cross that opens heaven for mercy and forgiveness – that Jeannie was a great weew wummin and loved everybody and gied them her coat aff her back is not really the issue – where was she with God ; was she in a state of grace; was she attending mass etc etc

    • This seems as good a place as any to wish everyone a happy Feast of St Pius X today, given that the apparently God-given role of the SSPX in restoring the priesthood and liturgy during this horrendous crisis.

      I’ve only attended one funeral conducted in an SSPX chapel and I recall the priest tactfully enough pointing out in his sermon to those present who may not have been attending Mass regularly “that this would not be the time to approach for Holy Communion” .

      To be fair, though, I do believe I’ve heard similar reminders at novus ordo funerals.

      Again – a happy Feast of Pope Saint Pius X, to one and all…

    • Scottish Priest,

      “The phrase Celebrate the life of is a form of heresy”

      That makes most priests and bishops today “heretics” – they all use it. I can’t remember being at a funeral where it wasn’t about “celebrating the life” of the deceased. It’s on the front of the Mass books, usually with a photo of the deceased. It’s pathetic. That person could be suffering in Purgatory and desperate for prayers and the very people who should be praying for them is “celebrating”.

      You must be an exceptional priest. . I bet you get plenty of stick from “upset” relatives.


    • Scottish Priest,

      What I said above about priests and bishops doing their own thing and ignoring Church rules doesn’t obviously apply to you and it is very good to know that there are some priests like you out there who do keep to the rules. It’s really upsetting being present at funerals where these rules are broken. More than once I’ve felt like getting up and walking out.

      • there are many more priests who adhere to to the rules than you think. Sometimes we can get get caught out – even after preparing the family explain g what the order of service should say they turn up on the day with the order of service exactly as they like -to celebrate life is a HUMANIST phrase it means because your s is now over we celebrate it – we don’t believe that we celebrate the Resurrection and life after death

  8. I have a big fear of death, and there’s no way I’d be texting anyone if I only had minutes left – maybe Seamus Heaney didn’t know that? An Irish friend of mine over there told me that he was a very good Catholic.

    In case it helps anyone, I thought I would post these extracts from a sermon online because they helped me.

    “It is an odd weakness of mankind, that while death surrounds us in its myriad forms, it is never present to our minds. At funerals one only hears words of astonishment that a mortal man has died. Each brings to mind the last time he spoke with the deceased and what they had spoken about. Then, all of sudden, he was dead. And we say: How fleeting are a man’s days! But who is it that makes these observations? One who is himself a man; one who does not apply the lesson to himself; one who is not mindful of his own destiny. Or, if some transitory desire to prepare himself for death passes through the mind, he soon casts off such gloomy thoughts. It may even be said that mortals take no less care to bury the thoughts of death than they do the dead themselves. Yet perhaps these thoughts will have more of an effect in our hearts if we meditate upon them with Jesus Christ at the tomb of Lazarus. Let us ask him to imprint them upon our minds by the grace of his Holy Spirit, and let us strive to merit that grace through the intercession of the blessed Virgin. Ave Maria . . . .

    What then do you fear, Christian soul, from death’s approach? Perhaps in seeing your house fall you fear that you will lack shelter? But listen to the holy apostle: “We know,” we know, he says, we are not led to believe by uncertain guesses, but we know most assuredly and with complete certitude, “that if this house of dirt and mud in which we live is destroyed, we have another dwelling place prepared for us in heaven.” (II Cor. 5:1) O merciful conduct of the one who anticipates our needs! He has a plan, as Saint John Chrysostom fittingly said, to repair the house he has given us. When he destroys it and casts it down in order to make it anew, we must move out. Yet he himself offers us his palace, and within it, gives us rooms wherein we may await in peace the complete reconstruction of our former abode.”

  9. It must be my black sense of humour, but I must admit that I found this discussion quite funny – along the lines of Monty Python’s four yorkshiremen sketch. You’ve got to see Chardom”s point of view from the outside just a tiny bit. By the time you get to Scottish Priest’s “the Celebration of life is a heresy” and the condemnation of “father I’m yer pal” it was hard not to hear Dad’s Army’s Private Fraser crying out, “we’re all doomed”.

    Don’t get me wrong I share Margaret Mary’s wariness of death and have struggled with this for some years. As a child at school our English teacher made us read a humanist-style story where the final coup de grace was a flower growing on a grave, presumably in order to make us feel better about death as our recycled bodies would go on to feed future life. I was furious. I didn’t want to be bally-well recycled. But Church didn’t make me feel any better – all those graves, cold stone and being nailed to crosses. I just couldn’t understand what the Good News was that Jesus was supposed to have brought. I am very slow and it has taken me years to even come close to an understanding of His victory over death.

    I am in no way in favour of this trend towards pop music, guitar playing and poems (my husbands grandma’s funeral of 2010) and see it as the final ill-advised attempt to avoid the reality of God. My own grandmother died alone in hospital and apparently called out in her last moments, “help me someone, I’m dying” and she had turned her back firmly on God, so, believe me I don’t take this lightly ..but you know, bah humbug and all that. We’ll never persuade people by shouting heretic at their departing relatives.

    • Heloise,

      Er, maybe it’s my LACK of a “black sense of humour” – not sure – but for the life of me I can’t see or hear or read anyone on this blog “shouting heretic at departing relatives.”

      I was so perplexed by your comment that I checked out each individual post at the top of the thread, since your criticism was that “by the time you get to Scottish Priest…” it was as if we were all doomed, or words to that effect.

      So, I asked myself, what do we have prior to Scottish Priest’s comment?

      Well we have Josephine posting the regulations for funerals in the Diocese of Meath which – as someone rightly pointed out later – merely mirror the Church’s general rules, simply summed up as “pray for the deceased, don’t canonise him and don’t turn the funeral into a pop concert.” Nothing “we’re all doomed” about that. In fact, it’s nothing more unusual than your local café owner posting a notice to say “drink your coffee, don’t spill it, and pay at the cash register before you leave.”

      Next we had comments which remarked on the fact that it is not at all unusual to hear the deceased canonised in the homily and eulogised by relatives and friends who, incidentally, probably didn’t really know the person that well in the first place. I could write a book about the folks whom I’ve heard spin yarns about deceased at funerals I’ve attended, stories that were wide of the mark – often by people of whom the deceased was less than fond, shall we say, to put it charitably.

      So, for our concerns about ensuring sound funeral rites, the bloggers who gave of their time and thought to contribute to the subject, were then roundly condemned as “whingers and whiners” by a sometime-blogger with a name that sounds more like a (very nice!) bottle of wine than a human being, doing his own share of whinging and whining.

      I’m puzzled. Don’t we all hope to have the Last Rites of the Church, faithfully administered – or is it all a load of old superstition, merely “bah humbug”? Read Brideshead Revisited lately?

      I repeat what I said in the introduction to this thread; when I think of my own judgment, I tremble. I suppose I should envy those who have no such fear, but oddly, I don’t, because when I ask them why they are so confident, I nearly always get treated to a good old attack on the “fire and brimstone” sermons of their youth. I wonder if any of those who gathered to hear Our Lord preach made the same complaint: why all this talk of sin and repentance, of Hell and damnation – shucks, bah humbug… Can’t recall any such criticisms in the commentaries I’ve read on Sacred Scripture. But then, I’m always too busy trying to find a more acceptable explanation for Christ’s warning that “the road (to Heaven) is narrow and few there are who find it.” Not “inclusive” enough for my liking – what about you, Heloise?

      Anyway, do enlighten me – who on earth shouts “heretic” at relatives departing a funeral (any funeral)? And of what, pray tell, would anyone be trying to “persuade” such relatives?


      N. Parker, Glasgow…

      • Editor

        Keep your hair on! I was only commenting on the tone rather than the specifics of the conversation. I think heresy (and heresy was mentioned in the context) is a serious business but when this discussion takes place in the context of the funeral of an obviously generous and big-hearted man like Seamus Heaney, you risk looking mean-spirited and the thread could even possibly have a whiff of passive aggression. I chose the word “persuade” badly – I meant that we need to tread a path between the letter and the spirit of the law, so as not to make the path to Christ look like a dark,and foreboding one and so rule-ridden that it blocks out the light. Surely we have a duty to evangelise?

        Having said that, I do understand the tone of the conversation because people obviously feel like they have their backs against the wall and the assault on truth is overwhelming. There is so much to oppose that we have to be careful that we do not get overtaken by the spirit of opposition which can so easily become malicious and poison our own souls, to the extent that we almost become that which oppose. This won’t go down well on judgement day!

        I suppose N Parker means nosey Parker? I don’t think you’re nosey, I think you’re disconcertingly feisty which is endearing and not a bit annoying. I probably won’t pass this way again – but no hard feelings. I cherish the thought of you terrorising the Church hierarchy in Scotland and further afield!


        • Heloise,

          I think you are mistaken to speak about the letter and the spirit of the law in the matter of the liturgy, especially funerals. The Church has good reasons for insisting on the liturgical rules being followed to the letter. If you think about it, the “spirit” of these rules is charity to the deceased. Comforting the bereaved cannot be the first consideration but it has come to be. If you were languishing in pain in Purgatory, would you want the false charity of a celebration of your life going on at your funeral?

          The comments I read here are not at all malicious but just trying to point out that it is not charitable to break the liturgical rules. It’s because of this mentality of spirit over letter of the law that we have the chaos so evident in every parish.

          As for Seamus Heaney being “an obviously generous and big-hearted man”, well that won’t be much good to him if he’s lapsed from the Catholic faith.

    • Heloise
      No one is shouting heretic at any dying relatives, that as the Americans would say came out of left field! It is precisely this cavalier approach that has gotten us in tot he mess along with Fr Im yer pal! its NOT ABOUT DOOM AND GLOOM FOR ME ON ANY LEVEL. the Holy Mass is the centre piece of the Christian life It WOULD BE LIKE WATCHING A CLASSIC MOVIE ON THE BIG SCREEN WITH EVERYONE on TENDER HOOKS AND ON THE EDGE OF THE=THEIR SEAT(SOrry about the CApitals keypad going wonky), perhaps like the passion of the Christ and then jeannie McGlumphers son coming in with his own tv and dvd(video) of his own mother setting it up in he middle of the viewing and saying “naw its all aboot ma wee maw and her wee dug boabby, she loved the bingo n the bowls man she wid gie ye the jakit aff her back, Didnae go to church much but she was a crackin we wummin. Lets sing Angels from Robbioe Williams.. cause ma maw was an aNGEL,Then we’ll gee out flowers to everyone cause she loved her garden then can everyone meet outside noo after the video of my maws 25th wedding anniversary and we ‘ll let white doves oot a basket cause thats like her soul goin tae heaven.. we couldnt get 12 doves so there are some pigeons in there anaw but theyre kinda white

      if anybody doesnt want to do that ye can stay and watch the passion thing on teh background
      when we make the liturgy in to our own image and likeness we get teh goldencalf all over again.. this is horrendous and why Moses broke the first 10 tablets in a rage. his brother Aaron was apriest! pERHAPS EVEN THE FIRST iM YER PAL and he stood by and watched the false God being created and did nothing

      This kind of detail happens regularly granted I’ve lumped them all into one narrative as it were but because they do not understand the mass as sacrifice and have lost reverence wonder and awe in the mystery of salvation we get this crazy thing going on it could be worse it could be a poem by stephen Fry and elton JOhn playing in the baclground

      • Scottish Priest,

        That’s hilarious. I haven’t laughed to much for ages. ( I need to get out more! )

        Truly a scream. Thank you for that Funeral Parable. Priceless!

  10. I do not fear dying. What I do fear is my judgement. I think of all the outright sins I’ve committed and I shudder. The only thing that gives me hope is the confessional. Through frequent, honest confession I hope that I manage to stay in the state of grace.

    I completely detest modern funerals. I think part of the problem is the abolition of Hell. I have never heard a modern priest mention Hell. No doubt some people will post things like “Oh my priest mentions Hell” and that’s fine – but in 25 years going to a modern parish and modern schools, I never once heard a priest mention Hell. Think about it, if there is no Hell and everyone goes to Heaven, why not celebrate the life?

    This is also the reason a lot of Catholics don’t go to Confession. If they even bother to recognise sin, they think “Hey, I’m not murdering anyone so I’m sure I will be fine.” Wrong. They are going to get a shock. If we had priests with the backbone to preach about sin, death, judgement and Hell, you might find the queues to the Confessional will get a bit longer!

    • Petrus

      “I do not fear dying”

      That’s not what you say when you’re a passenger in my car…

      “Part of the problem is the abolition of Hell”

      Correct. I remember a student telling me that by the time he’d reached his 25th birthday, he hadn’t heard a single mention of Hell in any of his Catholic schools or in any of the homilies in his parish.

      “If we had priests with backbone to preach about sin… you might find the Confessional queues get longer..”

      Well, maybe not. Haven’t you heard about the young newly ordained priest in Glasgow who was given scope by his very understanding parish priest to make various changes to bring back the lost sheep? The PP praised various ventures which had been quite successful, but he expressed grave concerns about plans for a drive-thru confessional. Young Father McHeather was surprised and asked the PP to give him time to make it work. “No way” said the PP “That flashing neon-sign “Toot ‘n Tell or Go to Hell” has to come down – NOW!

      • That’s a great joke. Hilarious!

        On a more than serious note: I heard yesterday that a priest of the Diocese of Aberdeen (not a spring chicken either) has left the priesthood and got married. Apparently the woman was already married ?divorced though I cannot confirm this. One wonders what awaits these priests on their death beds and what they experience at the last second before meeting their Maker?

  11. Chardom,

    Do you consider (crudity removed in original post, by editor)* to be appropriate? Wash your mouth out with soap and water.

    If I was on my deathbed, hopefully in my last moments here on this Earth, I would try to say as many decades of the Holy Rosary as I could, asking for forgiveness, and if I’m lucky I would die with the Rosary in my hands, and the words ‘Jesus, Mary’ on my lips.

    Maybe Heaney had some urgent business, does God have a mobile number? I’ll give Heaney one thing, he wrote good poetry.


    * Editor – that crudity, albeit mild, didn’t register with me when I read the original post. Have now removed it.

  12. The danger to the faith posed by so many novus ordo funerals surely represents another lamentable demonstration of how the liturgy forms peoples’ belief. The well-known Catholic saying lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief) is brought sharp into focus when we bury the dead.

    I wonder how many Catholics even consider the idea of a funeral Mass as the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary for the purpose of petitioning God’s mercy on the soul of the deceased? How can they be expected to when the unequivocal upholding of the doctrine of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice has been virtually obliterated in the ecumenically inspired New Mass celebratory meal?

    I’m open to correction here, but I think it is also true to say that the word soul is not used in the novus ordo funeral rite.

    Since the modernist agenda appears to come to the surface in similar fashion across the world, I presume other bloggers can tell of some the “gifts” that are brought to the altar (or imitation ironing board or butcher’s block as the case may be) as “gifts” – golf clubs, football jerseys, mobile phones, books, beer glasses and plenty else I’m sure, imaginable and unimaginable. Talk about childish nonsense.

    The point has already been well made about the virtual absence of teaching on Hell, or the four Last Things in general. If instants canonisations and “celebrations” are the order of the day can anyone be surprised that the utterly false notion of universal salvation is so merrily embraced. If Saint Leonard of Port Maurice’s famous sermon on the number of souls saved was read by every Catholics there would most assuredly be a more prayerful and sombre disposition amongst those gathered at funerals. There would certainly be a great many Catholics who were better prepared for their own particular judgement than they would otherwise have been.

    They following collection of quotations from the saints might be a suitable handout for the many casual apostates whose attendance at Mass is limited to funerals.

    Of course none of the saints are encouraging despair of salvation, which is utterly alien to a true Catholic spirit. Surely one of the great distinguishing marks of the One, True Faith is the assurance of God’s inexhaustible mercy which is never refused to any humble, truly penitent sinner.

    As Saint Alphonsus Liguori tells us, the grace of final perseverance is supremely important for our salvation. With this in mind, I think it is very important to remember Our Lady’s promise to the children at Fatima, concerning the Five Saturdays Devotion:

    “to all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months …” fulfill all the conditions requested, “I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their soul.”

    And of course we should all be wearing our Brown Scapulars.

    “Whosoever dies clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer
    eternal fire.” – words of Our Lady to Saint Simon Stock

    • Leo
      I certainly do not view the NO Mass as a “celebratory meal”the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is still how some priests I know understand the Eucharist.A common mistake because of the context of the last supper is that the Mass takes us to the last supper instead of Calvary (in a sense it takes us to both for sure) but in terms of sacrifice something(bulls lambs goats, in the OT ) needed to die. In the NT Jesus became that lamb of sacrifice in a once and for many sacrifice that is perpetuated through out history in and through the action of the Holy Spirit and the priest. For example I teach our altar servers not to lean over the altar and for body posture around the altar to reflect that we are getting close to something sacred when serving and to reverence the altar properly as it represents the Cross. If this is instilled in them early they will never see the altar as a table of communion rather as place where Jesus is offered to the Father in an unbloody way through the ordinary elements of bread and wine made extraordinary through the prayer of consecration to become the body blood soul and divinity of the RISEN Christ

      the word soul does appear in the Mass in the communion invocation “Lord I am not worthy…. and my soul will be healed” perhaps not it he context you meant but it does appear there at least

      As for Ireland and Seamus Heaney its part of a huge liturgical mess! a priest friend recently went to Ireland to visit family and attended Mass in the local Church. After the fraction rite the priest offered the consecrated host to the concelebrating priest and then to the two extra ordinary ministers..THIS IS NUTS!! and no wonder the liturgy is a mess! The impression or the theology behind this is social theology that we are all equal. yes we are but not in the functions of liturgy! This elevating the EOM tot eh status of the priest is definitely a protestant theology and alien to the Mass. Its in THIS that we see the notion of the Mass as a celebratory meal instead of eh Holy Sacrifice. The RITE and instruction is Very clear EOM’s are supposed to only approach the altar after the priests communion and then only to receive from the chalice if the congregation receive from the chalice. This is ANOTHER wide spread abuse in Ireland, whereby the people only receive the sacred host and the priest and EOM receive from the chalice. Whether they should be receiving at all is another question

      The 9 choirs of angels are hierarchical – heaven is hierarchical!! Even the angels that that fell into hell are hierarchical.Any exorcist (worth his salt), will tell you sometimes different demons are more powerful than other s – how so I hear you ask because they have they retained their office and rank in hell.

      Apparently this liturgical abuse is widespread in Ireland – I’ve never seen it in Scotland but I expect it is in England too from what I hear. He has written tot the nuncio in this regard

  13. Great post, Leo. I recently buried a family member and was truly scandalised by the funeral Mass. The carry on was something else! We had gardening tools on the altar and a rendering of Frank Sinatra’s “My way”. We were told that my cousin was in Heaven in eternal bliss. Now I cannot judge his inner state but his outer one was pretty blatant: he had 2 wives and latterly a bidey-in who was married to someone else; he claimed benefits fraudulently and avoided any payment of taxes etc.

    Did anyone really pray for his soul? Perhaps. I did.

    Did you hear the joke about the man who died and whose remains were brought to church. No mention of sin, soul or anything “negative”. Nope, he too was in Heaven. The corpse was beginning to panic. He thought he was doomed as he needed those prayers. Well, no prayers were forthcoming. As the funeral procession was leaving the church, in tottered Mrs.O’Reilly the worse the wear for drink. First she rubbed a few statues and then she spied the coffin. She staggered over and rubbed the coffin saying a few prayers for the occupant’s soul. Oh the relief of the poor corpse! He now had some chance of getting to Heaven and, in true Communion of Saints style, he vowed to pray for Mrs.O’Reilly.

    Maybe it’s not that funny but it made me laugh. Remove it if you wish, Editor.

    • CrofterLady,

      A joke would have to be very VERY bad for me to remove it! I laugh (usually a hollow laugh) very easily! Great joke, thanks for posting it.

      Your account of your relative’s funeral is no longer amazing, sorry to say. It’s par for the course. If they’re dead, they’re in heaven – it’s that simple now. Completely uncharitable, of course, but that’s the way it is these days in the modern parish set up – Scottish Priest apparently the exception.

    • Gabriel Syme – firstly great avatar! Makes it much easier to find posts, so thanks for that.

      I’m very interested in what you say about Seamus Heaney being lapsed because I’d been told by an Irish person that he was a practising Catholic.

      • Hi Editor!

        Many thanks for the avatar compliments – sorry it took me so long! I chose a Teutonic Cross, as I have long been interested in the Teutonic Knights and their adventures (ie battles!) especially in the Baltic regions.

        I was surprised when I read that information about Heaney too. The Guardian is a notoriously anti-Catholic paper, (I visit it mainly for a chuckle, its a scream at times – like a bolshy student newspaper which never grew up), so I thought at first they might be trying to play down Heaneys faith – but then the quote is attributed directly to the man himself, so it seems genuine.

        Its strange though – if he had faith, why not practice it openly? Surely not one of these people who believe in God, but also believe that they are too good for His Church?

        • Gabriel Syme,

          Unlike Madame Editor, I find your choice of avatar quite chilling – reminds me of the Iron Cross awarded to my great-grandfather by ………………Adolf Hitler.

          • Magdalene,

            With due respect, I think your comment about Gabriel Syme’s avatar is quite gratuitously unkind. He’s explained that it is a Teutonic Cross and why he chose it, so why would you tell us that you associate it with Hitler? I didn’t know anything about Hitler’s Iron Cross but just as I won’t let the homosexuals steal the word GAY, I won’t let Hitler affect what sort of cross I choose and obviously, Gabriel feels the same way. Good on you, Gabriel!

            • Thanks Josephine!

              I find it strange that Magdalene chooses to associated the cross with Hitler.

              – the design originated in 1219, when the Teutonic Order (an German Order, similar to the Templars, Hospitallers etc), was present in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

              – the design was later chosen as a Prussian military decoration and first awarded in the early 1800s.

              – Hitlers only association with it comes from the fact that he was leader of Germany and the design was an existing German military decoration.

              It seems odd to associate the design chiefly with a short, dark period of Germany 20th century history, when it has a wider ~800 year History in a Christian context.

              I understand Hitler wore clothes and breathed air – so presumably we should go about naked, whilst holding our breath, in order to avoid being like Hitler.

  14. Meant to say – I have a very limited experience of funerals, so cant comment much on this topic. Ive only been to one Catholic funeral (my granny) and it was about 25 years ago, (I was maybe 10 or 11) so I dont really remember it. Certainly though, it was a vernacular mass. The one bit I do remember well is looking at the coffin sitting before the altar and thinking the events just seemed so unreal, as though I couldnt really accept she was dead (this was my first experience of death).

    A sad memory (quite apart from the sadness of my grannys death) I have of that bereavement is that the events surrounding it truly demonstrated my total ignorance of Catholicism at that time (typical for my generation). Some St VIncent de Paul people came to the house to pray the Rosary with the family, standing around my grans body, and I recall I didnt even know what the Rosary was. I remember thinking “whats this thing they are all just repeating over and over, when will it stop?”.

    (Nowadays I try to pray the Rosary every day. I do OK at it, but have far from a 100% record. I will improve though!)

    Other than my grannys funeral, the majority of the funerals ive been to have been the typical (for the UK) rent-a-protestant-minister doing his best to discuss the life of someone he never met, and who never set foot in his church. I got the feeling that these arrangements were made purely because the relatives didnt know what else to do, which is sad. I think (the equally banal / meaningless) Humanist ceremonies are gradually replacing these nominally-protestant ceremonies, just as they are replacing nominally-protestant weddings.

  15. Gabriel,

    If you are interested, the online rosary on Fr Gruner’s website (linked from ours) is very helpful

    You can click on the medal for the Apostles’ Creed, and the beads on the picture rosary for the rest of the prayers all the way through. You can and even learn to pray the rosary in Latin if you wish.

    If you want to miss out all the introductory stuff, just click the “skip” button.

    • Many thanks for the link Editor!

      The online rosary resources were very valuable when I started with the rosary because – again, typically for my generation – I had never even heard of the Salve Regina, or the Fatima Prayer, let alone knew them by heart (I do now, though!).

      Now I just sit with my rosary beads and my (1962) Missal as a reference, though I dont really need to look at it anymore.

      The Missal is a modern Baronius (1962) Missal, Summorum Pontificum Edition – however, I am pleased to say its Rosary Section does *not* include the JP2 “add on” mysteries. (I think Baronius had included these originally but removed them after complaints, according to what I have heard from others).

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